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The U.S. Department of Energy announced today that the Bucks County Community College, in Newtown, Pennsylvania, and the Pennsylvania College of Technology, in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, have been selected to receive over $1.5 million in funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to expand Pennsylvania’s weatherization training programs and establish a new weatherization training center in Newtown. These awards are two of 34 projects in 27 states that have been selected to receive $29 million in total Recovery Act funding. These projects will provide green job training for local workers in energy efficiency retrofitting and weatherization services. With this training, skilled workers can help expand the use of energy efficient practices in America’s homes and businesses.
“A well-trained workforce will be a crucial part of America’s clean energy economy in the years ahead,” said Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman. “These investments in efficiency training programs will help build a foundation for long-term growth in America. Energy efficiency improves the competitiveness of our economy, benefits the environment, and puts Americans back to work.”
Newtown’s $757,000 cost-shared project will bring entry-level workers into the workforce through weatherization training and other green initiatives in nine counties surrounding Philadelphia. The project seeks to train people for jobs in weatherization projects tailored to the unique characteristics of industrial suburbs. This weatherization training program will be offered through a local community college, preparing students with skills and knowledge leading to credentials and greater flexibility in the job market.
The $1.2 million cost-shared project in Williamsport will establish a center to pilot a national weatherization worker certification program, provide training to the region’s weatherization instructors on DOE curricula, provide technical expertise to develop labs for hands-on learning, and create a certification system for applicants from Pennsylvania and two other states. It will also feature an apprenticeship program and computer animation in its curriculum to increase comprehension of the underlying physics and building science concepts.
Using innovative approaches to weatherization training and standardized training curricula, the training projects across the country will help prepare weatherization workers, supervisors, and inspectors to maintain a high degree of quality in weatherization projects and to work in the growing field of energy efficiency retrofits. The centers and programs will offer training using a combination of classroom, online, and hands-on learning tools.
The $29 million in funding will support the expansion of 8 existing weatherization training centers and the establishment of 26 new training centers, more than tripling the number of DOE-funded weatherization training centers nationally. The 34 programs announced today will significantly expand access to weatherization training, while improving the quality and consistency of training nationwide. These investments will continue to build on the Administration’s efforts to expand the green workforce and build a self-sustaining energy retrofit industry that creates high-quality jobs, while improving the environment and saving energy.
Under the Recovery Act, the Obama Administration is making unprecedented investments that are helping to build America’s clean energy future, including $5 billion to significantly ramp up the pace of weatherization in the United States. The training programs announced today will support a range of public and private energy efficiency efforts, including the Department’s Weatherization Assistance Program, which has already funded the weatherization of nearly 200,000 homes since last February, using both Recovery Act and annual program funds.
These weatherization training centers are part of the Department’s broader Training and Technical Assistance program for weatherization, including a variety of online tools, a national training platform, certification and accreditation standards, program evaluations, quality assurance reviews, and peer mentoring.
Funding details (site, federal funding, total project value, place):
Pennsylvania College of Technology / $916,981 / $1,163,972 / Williamsport, PA
Bucks County Community College / $631,260 / $757,512 / Newtown, PA